Preparing for a presentation is an art by itself. There are so many things that you will have to give attention to and it needs a lot of your time and focus. Even if you are an eloquent speaker, delivering an effective presentation needs preparation. You will not be convincing and successful in delivering a talk if you do not prepare for the show. Here are some Pre-Presentation tips that I hope would be useful.
Pre-Presentation needs focus in three areas:
- Preparing the Content
- Preparing the Materials
- Preparing Yourself
Let me explain each of these in detail.
Preparing the Content:
Let us assume that the organizers have given you the Topic. Let me list the essentials that you need to take care while preparing your content.
- Before you start preparing your content, get a clear idea about your participants. You need to know who your audience is in terms of age, their education, and knowledge about the topic, interests, aptitudes and expectations from the presentation
- Get information about the company that has invited you as a speaker. This will help you to be familiar with the kind of participants, as well as help you to relate the topic to the work situations (look into their website or have a brief discussion with someone from the company). Read any information available about the company. Understand their mission, vision and value statements
- Be aware of the objectives of the presentation (for example is it to inform, entertain or to take action by the participants)
- Prepare original content
- Do a thorough research on the topic. Understand the current trends and practices both contextually and globally
- Review available literature and avoid using information that was published decades back, unless you need to compare with current trends. Keep it relevant and recent
- Prepare essential notes and give due credit for the source.
- Prepare an outline of the topic first and then develop on the outline – have an introduction or a strong opening, body and a clear conclusion
- Structure your content and check the flow of content, avoid giving ambiguous, repetitive or contradictory information
- Do not talk about issues or include information about which you do not have expertise or authority. Prepare content based on your knowledge and level of expertise
- Keep your focus on the topic given to you. Do not overload information.
- Put enough punch in the content. Plan where you need to explain, give examples or share a story
- Plan strategies for inviting/ encouraging active participation from attendees
- Prepare the content considering the culture, work practices or prevalent issues; take care that your information does not hurt the sentiments of people
- Develop possible questions from the participants & get ready with your answers
- Prepare few prompters if necessary. Only key points and not the entire content
- Get information about other speakers and their topics. This will help you to avoid content duplication or overlapping
Preparing the Materials:
Once you have your content ready, the next step is to convert the information into appropriate form for use during your talk/presentation. You need to look into the following:
- Prepare PowerPoints, Handouts, Videos, Activity Sheets, Case Studies, Posters or Pictures relevant to your presentation (you will not be using all of these)
- Try to use at least two or three different kinds of audio-visual aids for your presentation. This will keep your audience/participants engaged. However, take care to see that you do not duplicate contents when you are using two or more aids.
- Get essential stationery – pens, pencils, notepads for yourself and if needed for your participants
- Make required number of photocopies of materials for distributing to participants during the session (if necessary)
- If you are embedding a video in your PowerPoint, ensure that it plays on click
- Take a backup of the content in a flash drive
- Check the venue- facilities and equipment available at the venue, size and ambience of the venue, seating arrangements made by organizers and stage setting (all this will have to be considered for selecting the appropriate presentation aids)
Few tips for preparing the PowerPoint
- Do not keep more than 20 slides, choose font style, size and color such that the slides are clear and readable even from a distance
- Do not use too many animations. It will be quite annoying when the letters swirl, fade or burst.
- Try to include figures, graphs, tables, pictures wherever possible to make the presentation more interesting.
- Maintain flow of content in slides in terms of introduction, body and conclusion.
- Do not crowd the slides with information
- Check the grammar, spelling of the content; keep it simple and clear
- Include your e-mail id and contact details in the slide
This is the fun part and quite exciting too. That is if you are not nervous and fretting about exceling in the presentation. I am sure you are one cool and confident person. Here you go!
- Check with organizers, whether someone will introduce you or if you will have to do a self-introduction. Prepare a strong opening about yourself in case of self-introduction. Keep it simple and convincing
- Run the presentation; check the flow and time taken; make revisions if necessary either in content or delivery style till you feel convinced and comfortable
- Go through your content repeatedly. Familiarize with the content. Put your thoughts in order
- Plan your timings for telling a story, giving examples or even sharing a joke. (A joke at the wrong time will ruin your presentation!)
- Present your talk in front of friends or family members and get their feedback
- If possible, make a video recording of your presentation, run it through to check for flaws, body language and voice modulation
- Choose your attire carefully. Let it be formal and elegant. I have asked google sitting in a conference if men can wear flowered tie with striped shirt observing the speaker on stage. Sometimes, the speaker’s attire distracts the participants that we lose focus on the topic. Let the women be subtle in their make-up and jewelry. Pay special attention to footwear. I have read that people judge you by the shoes you wear
- Be confident and relaxed
That is it! You are all set to make an impression!
Click here to download a Pre-Presentation Checklist Pre-Presentation Checklist
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